Fraser Nelson

British jobs for British workers...

British jobs for British workers...
Text settings

Did you know that there are fewer British-born workers in the private sector than there were in 1997? I'd be surprised if so: these official figures are not released. The Spectator managed to get them, on request from the Office of National Statistics. We use the figures in tomorrow's magazine, but I thought they deserves a little more prominence here. See the graph above, which shines a new light on the boasts Gordon Brown has been making.

He said his Glasgow speech last month that:

"If we had said twelve years ago there would be, even after a global recession, 2.5 million more jobs than in 1997 nobody would have believed us."

No-one would have believed the scale of immigration, or the rapid expansion of the public sector - for these two are the only factors that have pushed the jobs total upwards. I will do a more detailed blog of this later on, but two key figures jump out. In the private sector, there were 288,000 fewer UK-born people working in the private sector in Q3 of last year than there were in 1997. Strip out pension-age workers, and there are 637,000 fewer.

Brown loves to include pension-age people returning to work in his figures for job increase. Strip them out and Immigrants accounted  for 1.64 m of the 1.67m jobs created since 1997 according to another set of unpublished official figures - a staggering 99 percent. Here's the maths:

So Brown should not talk about "creating" new jobs. "Importing" would be be a much better word.

My point here is not that nasty immigrants have taken all our jobs. To the chagrin of CoffeeHousers, I'm a fan of immigration - but my concern is that Brown has used it to cover up the extent of his failure. He's bragging in Glasgow about creating 2.5 million new jobs, but this didn't stop the total on out-of-work benefits staying above 5m throughout the boom years. Immigration has broken the link between economic recovery and falling dole queues - 2.5m extra jobs does no longer means 2.5m fewer people on the dole.  This is a crucial fact which should be borne in mind as a Tory government tries to reduce the dole list of almost 6m as it stands today.

PS: I've had a couple of requests for the raw data, as provided to The Spectator from the ONS. It's for working-age workers, and for all workers over 16 (ie, including pension-age workers).